Cyberhate: Danger in Cyberspace

Cyberhate: Danger in Cyberspace

July 2009 – The latest seminar in the United Nation’s “Unlearning Intolerance” annual series looked at two specific risks the Internet poses to young people – cyberhate and cyber bullying. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon opened the seminar by saying that a top priority of the UN is protecting children by preventing abuse by racism, xenophobia and related intolerance. While the internet has brought much good to the world, it also causes anguish and suffering because of those who use it to target religious and ethnic and minorities or bullying youth. Speakers stressed the need for parents, teachers and teenagers to become more sceptical about the information posted on the web by asking key questions: Who put up the information? Why was it posted? What was the objective? More also needs to be done by schools, the IT industry and NGOs to help people recognize hate speech. Speakers warned of the rise and consequences of cyberbullying – when a child, preteen or teen is harassed, threatened, or humiliated by a peer using the internet, mobile phones or other interactive digital technology. Some countries are having success combatting the problem through teen peer counselling programmes.

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